El Camino Cantina in Byron Bay is calling all chicas and chicos for a fun-filled night of Loteria on the last Thursday of every month. Last month, the Echo crew (or at least those of us who felt we could still cram more fun into ourselves) went down to check it out, and it was really fun.
First off, you’re sitting up on a deck above the new Woolies, looking out over the action of the south end of Jonson St, lighthouse visible over the rooftops. The restaurant itself is actually pretty fun, with an inviting backlit bar full of spirits, and the Byron Slow down, chill out picked out in neon amongst quirky skulls and cacti.
There are tables and stools out on the deck, along with gas burners and shutters to weatherproof it, and it’s ideal as the weather is warming to sit out in the evening and have a nice Mexican beer, as well as a range of food that was surprisingly light and healthy.
Similar to bingo, Loteria uses quirky Mexican images on a deck of cards instead of numbers and requires players to mark off four pictures in a row. Apparently this game originated in Italy in the 15th century and was brought to ‘New Spain’ – modern Mexico, in the 1700s. The 54 original images are quite iconic, but El Camino has its own set.
Much to our excitement, one of the Echo team, in a high-stakes tequila bottle round, was the first player to stamp off a consecutive set and to shout ‘Loteria!’ to win the prize. A couple of cocktails really improves your ability to both speak and comprehend Spanish, the de facto national language owing to Mexico’s colonial history. Prizes in the Loteria include a restaurant voucher, bottle of Jose Cuervo, or a limited-edition El Camino t-shirt, but of course you can always just come, eat, and have a good time!
El Camino Cantina
108–110 Jonson St, Byron
Loteria is last Thursday of every month from 6pm.